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Google Algorithm Change Aims to Make Review Rich Results More Helpful

Google to No longer Display ‘Self-Serving’ reviews in SERPs for Local Business Schema

Big changes are in the air over at Google. The search engine giant has just announced that local businesses will no longer have the ability to push ratings from in-site reviews to their organic SERP results, citing them as “self-serving.”

The announcement was made via Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, stating:

“Search results that are enhanced by review rich results can be extremely helpful when searching for products or services (the scores and/or “stars” you sometimes see alongside search results). To make them more helpful and meaningful, we are now introducing algorithmic updates to reviews in rich results.”

Review rating displayed in Google search results

Source: Google

So, What Does This All Mean?

This means that Google will no longer display average star ratings as Review Rich Results from the schema types LocalBusiness and Organization.

This will occur in instances where reviews for a particular business live on its website.

The blog post added that this new change would help to address invalid or misleading implementations that webmasters had flagged to Google.

According to Google, going forward, digital marketers should focus on schema types that lend themselves to reviews.

Because while you can attach review markup to any schema type, for many, having star reviews does not add much value to the user, says Google.

For this reason, Google is limiting the number of schema types that could potentially trigger review rich results in searches. Therefore, they will only show reviews with those types along with their respective subtypes. This includes:

  • org/Book
  • org/Course
  • org/CreativeWorkSeason
  • org/CreativeWorkSeries
  • org/Episode
  • org/Event
  • org/Game
  • org/HowTo
  • org/LocalBusiness
  • org/MediaObject
  • org/Movie
  • org/MusicPlaylist
  • org/MusicRecording
  • org/Organization
  • org/Product
  • org/Recipe
  • org/SoftwareApplication

Why Are These Changes Being Made?

Google considers reviews that are perceived as “self-serving” to not be in the best interest of users, which is why it will no longer display these types of reviews for the schema types LocalBusiness and Organization – along with their subtypes.

So, when exactly would a review be considered ‘self-serving’?

Google describes it as “when a review about entity A is placed on the website of entity A – either directly in their markup or via an embedded 3rd party widget.”

When Will These Changes Be Implemented?

So far, the changes have only just been announced, and no plans for implementing them are known. However, based on how quickly updates have been rolled out in the past, it’s estimated that we will see these changes made soon, and start to affect SERPs rather quickly.